On the more resort-oriented side of the Black Crows line, the Vertis has an 85 mm waist and has the most traditional camber of pretty much all of the Black Crows skis. Built with a poplar wood core, the Vertis is light, agile, and energetic, and that long underfoot camber really helps the ski get on edge and stay on edge through the duration of the turn. In all lengths, the skis generate a 15-meter turn radius, and that makes my mind wander to the DPS and their RP shaping. As a result, Black Crows has to increase the width of the tips and tails to keep the turns short, and this makes the skis, even in the longer lengths, perform with agility and playfulness. Ideally suited for intermediate to advanced skiers who spend most of their time on-trail and in a carved turn, the Vertis is an awesome choice for skiers who are progressing and learning the art of the pure carve. This is one of those sneaky skis, though, that on paper, doesn’t look like it does a whole lot, but when you get it on your feet, it really comes to life. This gives the Vertis a higher-end feel than the width and application may indicate, allowing for a greater range of skiers to enjoy.
Rocker / Camber
All Mountain, Groomers, Powder
Benny Wax noted that his 170 cm test length skied true to size, but had more stability than he expected. Oftentimes, this is due to the increased camber underfoot, as that creates a longer effective edge. A lot of us are trained to be on more rockered skis these days, so it feels a bit weird to be on a more traditionally cambered ski, and it sounds like Benny is picking up on that. Benny had top scores of 5 out of 5 for overall impression, torsional stiffness, and edge grip, with 4’s given for all other categories except flotation, which got a 3. These are some consistently high scores for a simple poplar wood core with camber, showing that the way Black Crows makes their skis has a whole lot to do with their success as a company. Benny calls the Vertis “one of the funnest skis of the day! Advanced intermediate to all mountain recreational expert. Playful in the spring snow and precision in the hard pack. Just a great zippity fun way on the slopes!” I always like it when skis sound like they surprise our testers, and the Vertis seems to do that with Benny. Also on the 170, David Carter noted that while it skied true to size, he’d opt for the longer size in more wintry conditions. David scored the ski all 4’s across the board with the exception of a lone 3 for forgiveness. He notes that “I skied this early, and had a chance to ski it on firmer snow - Nose Dive turns. Good hold and responsiveness.”
On the longer 180, John McIntosh loved the length, and found it matched up very well with the weight and overall balance of the ski. John’s top score of 5 out of 5 was given for quickness and maneuverability, with 4’s taking up the rest of the categories, with the exception of a 3 for flotation. Like the other two gentlemen, John’s scores are consistently high, showing a more well-rounded application to these skis. John notes about the Vertis’ “Classic camber with a small turning radius an 85mm underfoot make for a lively and quick turning ski. Best for on-piste skiing but able to handle changeable conditions.” I think that’s what we’re all looking for in these narrower all-mountain skis. Something that can hold tight to a groomer while remaining versatile enough to handle a wide variety of conditions and terrain.
This is a growing segment of skis, more so in the fact that these skis are getting better all the time. Some comparisons include the Nordica Navigator 85, Volkl Kanjo, and Salomon QST 85. This Black Crows Vertis can certainly hang with the best of those, allowing for a strong edge grip, a light weight, and a fantastic level of versatility that will handle a huge range of applications.